Saunas: History and benefits
From ancient Rome to Nordik Spa-Nature!
An age-old practice
When a tradition is practiced by many different peoples and cultures, it’s often a sign of the tradition’s antiquity. This is certainly the case with thermotherapy, which is practiced by both northern and southern cultures. In the west, two different traditions dating back at least 2000 years have been handed down to us.
The Nordic tradition
The Nordic tradition gives us Finnish saunas, but also those from Scandinavia, Lithuania, and even North American Native peoples. All feature a dry heat, generated inside a sealed room by heated stones. The heat given off by the stones can raise the ambient temperature to over 100°C (212°F).
The Mediterranean tradition
Another tradition stems from the hot springs and public baths that were once widespread in the Mediterranean region. The famous baths built throughout the Roman Empire and the Turkish baths popular in Islamic countries are part of this tradition, which is said to date back to the time of the Greeks. This tradition uses steam to produce a wet heat.
Passive exercise with active benefits
A sauna session has much in common with intense physical exercise. Like physical exercise, the sauna purges the body of toxins by mobilizing the vascular system; it dilates blood vessels, increases blood flow, and causes abundant perspiration. Unlike physical exercise, however, a sauna achieves these results without stressing muscles and joints. In addition, saunas induce slight hyperthermia by increasing the body’s internal temperature by 1°C. Combined with the effect of relaxation, this hyperthermia produces a series of remarkably beneficial effects, such as:
- Deep purging of the entire body
- Increased flexibility of muscles and joints
- Total cleaning of the skin
- Clearing of the respiratory passages
- Boosting of the immune system
- Calming of the nervous system
- Promotion of more restful sleep
Inspired by tradition
The eight saunas at Nordik Spa-Nature are inspired by both the Nordic and Mediterranean traditions. The Finlandia, Barik, Maa, Tuli, and Aromi saunas are in the Nordic dry heat tradition. The two Vaporo saunas evoke the hot-water basins and steam baths found in Roman hot springs.